Tapinauchenius rasti , Huesser, Martin, 2018

Huesser, Martin, 2018, A first phylogenetic analysis reveals a new arboreal tarantula genus from South America with description of a new species and two new species of Tapinauchenius Ausserer, 1871 (Araneae, Mygalom, ZooKeys 784, pp. 59-93: 59

publication ID


publication LSID


persistent identifier


taxon LSID


treatment provided by

ZooKeys by Pensoft

scientific name

Tapinauchenius rasti

sp. n.

Tapinauchenius rasti  sp. n. Figs 10, 11, 12

Material examined.

Male holotype and female paratype from region around Mt. Taboi, Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Lesser Antilles deposited in SMF, leg. Burgess, don. B Rast, 2013; examined.

Other material examined.

1 female (MHCOL_0087) and 2 males (MHCOL_0076, 0065).


The specific epithet is a noun in apposition as a recognition to Bastian Rast, Switzerland, who guided the author in his early years of tarantula research and is still tremendously supportive of the author’s work.


Tapinauchenius rasti  sp. n. differs from all known Tapinauchenius  by their type locality and unique colouration in adult females. Males furthermore differ from those of T. polybotes  by their slenderer embolus and from all other Tapinauchenius  species by having a Rap with three short and strong spines (Figure 11c). Females can be distinguished from those of all other Tapinauchenius  by their adult colouration (see Figure 10), having a brightly green coloured cephalothorax while its abdomen and legs are of blue to violet colour with longer reddish setae on legs III and IV.

Description of male holotype.

Specimen preparation and condition: In captivity, female built an egg sack from which the specimens (holotype and paratype) were raised to adulthood and donated to the author by B Rast, collected alive, preserved in 80% ethanol. The original colouration has faded due to the preservation. A 50 mg tissue sample was extracted for DNA analysis. Right legs I, III, IV, and right pedipalp removed for measurements and photographs; stored in vial with specimen. Tissue for DNA was extracted.

General colouration: Faded black/blueish. Cephalothorax: Carapace 16.421 mm long, 14.412 mm wide; densely clothed with faded pubescence, appressed to surface; fringe covered in long white setae not closely appressed to surface, hirsute appearance; foveal groove medium deep and straight; pars cephalica region rises very gradually from foveal groove on a straight plane towards the ocular area; AER procurved, PER recurved; clypeus extends slightly on a curve; LBl 2.104, LBw 2.231; sternum hirsute, clothed with faded, densely packed, short setae. Abdomen: Densely clothed in short black/brown pubescence with numerous longer, lighter setae.

Legs: Hirsute; densely clothed in faded pubescence. Metatarsus I straight. F1 14.961; F1w 4.032; P1 5.714; T1 13.210; M1 11.973; A1 6.013; F3 10.753; F3w 3.832; P3 4.692; T3 9.072; M3 11.312; A3 5.173; F4 13.112; F4w 4.252; P4 5.342; T4 13.102; M4 13.552; A4 5.981; femur III is normal. All tarsi fully scopulate. Extent of metatarsal scopulation: leg III (SC3) = 59%; leg IV (SC4) = 72%. Two ventral spinose setae on metatarsus III; five ventral spinose setae on metatarsus IV; one prolateral spinose seta on tibia I; one megaspine on the apex on the retrolateral branch of the tibial apophyses. Coxa I: Prolateral surface covered by fine, hair-like setae. Tibia I: two apophyses that do not originate from a common base, Pap short and strong, with one short spine on inner face; the Rap is well developed, broad at its base with one short and strong spine on the inner face and three short and strong spines on top (see arrows Figure 11c); Pedipalps: Hirsute; densely clothed in the same setal colour as the other legs, with numerous longer ventral setae; one spinose seta at the apical, prolateral femur and three prolateral spinose setae on the palpal tibia. PTl 7.123, PTw 2.154. Palpal bulb large, globular, short slender embolus tapering slightly apically. When extended, the embolus tapers with a curve to the retrolateral side; no keels; distinct dorsal and ventral transition from bulb to embolus.

Description of female paratype.

Specimen preparation and condition: offspring of wild-caught specimen raised in captivity, specimen collected live from burrow50mg tissue sample extracted for DNA analysis. Genital plate with spermathecae removed and cleared, stored in vial with specimen.

General colouration: Faded black/brown. Cephalothorax: Carapace 16.553 mm long, 13.634 mm wide; metallic green colouration in live specimens, densely clothed with short faded black/brown pubescence closely appressed to surface; fringe densely covered in slightly longer setae; foveal groove medium deep and slightly procurved; pars cephalica region gently rises from thoracic furrow, arching anteriorly toward ocular area; AER procurved, PER very slightly recurved; clypeus extends forward on a curve; LBl 2.221, LBw 2.521; sternum hirsute, clothed with short faded setae. Abdomen: Densely clothed dorsally in short faded black setae with longer, lighter setae (generally red in situ). Spermathecae: Paired and separate, with capitate bulbs widening towards the bases; not fused.Legs: Hirsute; densely clothed in short faded blue pubescence; F1 14.432; F1w 4.012; P1 7.212; T1 11.413; M1 9.312; A1 5.512; F3 10.857; F3w 4.132; P3 6.142; T3 8.581; M3 9.731; A3 5.321; F4 13.214; F4w 4.235; P4 7.125; T4 11.235; M4 12.456; A4 6.236. All tarsi fully scopulate. Extent of metatarsal scopulation: leg III (SC3) = 58%; leg IV (SC4) = 74%.

One ventral and one prolateral spinose seta on metatarsus III; four ventral spinose setae and one prolateral spinose seta on metatarsus IV. Coxa I: Prolateral surface covered by very thin tapered and fine, hair-like setae. Pedipalps: Densely clothed in the same setal colour as the other legs; one spinose seta on the apical, prolateral femur, four prolateral (two at the apical, prolateral border with the tarsus) spinose setae and one ventral spinose seta on the tibia.

Distribution and natural history.

Only known from Union Island, Caribbean. All adult specimens were observed on larger/older growth trees and used cavities and "knot holes" as retreats. One subadult specimen observed under loose bark. Retreats were typically silk-lined around the entrance. Sub adults were seen on large and small diameter trees as well as bromeliads, rocks and one occurrence on the ground. Females showed parental care. Two different females observed with spiderlings in and around retreat entrance. (pers. comm. Joseph Burgess).


In the pet trade, specimens labelled as Tapinauchenius  sp. "Caribbean Diamond" and Tapinauchenius  sp. "Union Island" belong to the same species described here as Tapinauchenius rasti  sp. n.

No threat through poaching or smuggling of animals out of the country of origin is to be expected, since T. rasti  sp. n. is bread successfully in the pet-trade all around the world since 2012. Egg sac of T. rasti  sp. n. typically contain between 80 and 190 spiderlings, depending on the size of the female. (pers. obs. and Rast pers. comm.)